Review: An Alternative To Petroleum-Based Plastic Packaging

Our take: Good review of alternatives based on current scientific efforts... |

Packaging is a crucial tool in containing and protecting food as it moves through the supply chain to the consumer. The main function of packaging is to protect the product and extend the shelf life of food.

Food packaging materials have been traditionally based on petroleum-based plastics due to their versatile and durable nature with reliable gas and water barriers.

Despite all of its benefits, the production of petroleum-based plastics leads to greenhouse gas emissions, environmental pollution, damages in marine ecosystems, and negative effects on our food chain due to the effect of bioaccumulation.

The decomposition of petroleum-based polymers can take about 200-500 years or more if placed in a landfill. Most food packaging material has a short use-phase, and a substantial amount of those plastics ends up as a litter at short notice.

One way to solve those problems is the replacement of plastics derived from petroleum with renewable sources such as bio-based products.

Currently, more research underway in both food industry and academia is to develop new biodegradable food packaging materials, and to improve and strengthen their barrier properties and to validate their application in real working environments inside the food industry.

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